The FINANCIAL — Copa Airlines, subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A., and member of the Star Alliance global airline network, has begun nonstop service four times a week between Copa’s Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. New Orleans is the airline’s 11th U.S. destination and its 71st overall.
“Copa’s New Orleans-Panama service will bring all of Latin America closer than ever before for Louisiana business and leisure travelers,” said Fernando Fondevila, Commercial Regional Manager for Copa Airlines for North America. “We’re proud to provide the only nonstop service between New Orleans and Panama, as well as unsurpassed connectivity to destinations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Until now, New Orleans was one of the largest U.S. markets without nonstop service to Latin America. In Panama passengers can make quick connections on Copa to more than 55 destinations in Central and South America and the Caribbean, according to Copa Airlines.
“We welcome Copa Airlines to the great City of New Orleans,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This international flight to Panama City, Panama, opens the gateway to the Americas to provide new economic opportunity for the region’s businesses and tourism industry.”
With this agreement, which complements and expands the route network of both airlines, the connectivity between continents will improve and promote opportunities for tourism and commercial development.
“We are thrilled that this day has finally come,” stated New Orleans Aviation Board Chairwoman, Cheryl Teamer. “Thank you, Copa Airlines, for choosing our Airport!”
“Our community is so excited to welcome Copa Airlines and their new options for travel throughout Latin America,” said New Orleans Councilman Jared Brossett, Chair of the Transportation and Aviation Committee.
“We have worked diligently to obtain this flight and build awareness in order to sustain and grow this new international route,” said Director of Aviation Iftikhar Ahmad. “We encourage our community to take advantage of Copa Airlines’ extensive service throughout Latin America.”
“The Port of New Orleans is pleased to see the continuing expansion of international flights into New Orleans,” said Vernon Foret, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Area Port Director for the Port of New Orleans. “CBP will work closely with Copa Airlines and MSY Staff to ensure the efficient admission of international travelers.”
Copa flight CM 499 departs New Orleans on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:01 a.m., arriving at Panama City at 10:42 a.m. The return flight, CM 498, departs Panama Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 6:33 p.m., arriving in New Orleans at 10:31 p.m. All times are local. Copa is operating a Boeing 737-700 Next-Generation aircraft on the approximately 3 ½-hour flight, with seating for 12 passengers in Business Class and 112 in the main cabin.
From the Hub of the Americas, Copa Airlines offers flights to more international destinations than any other airline from any other hub in Latin America. The New Orleans – Panama flight is timed for convenient connections to Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Honduras; San José, Costa Rica; nine destinations in Colombia, including Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and Cartagena; eight destinations in Brazil, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador, among other Latin American destinations. In-transit passengers making connections do not have to go through immigration and customs in Panama and baggage is checked to the final destination.
Copa’s on-board service includes complimentary meals and beverages, including wines and spirits; a 12-channel audio-visual entertainment system in English, Spanish and Portuguese, with new movies monthly and complimentary headsets. Flight attendants are bilingual.
Established in 1947, Copa Airlines transported more than 11.6 million passengers in 2014.